The Bajan band Cover Drive had been around for almost a year but the spotlight was turned on them when they opened for pop star Rihanna on the Barbadian leg of her LOUD tour.
It was their first gig in front of over 25 000 people and the band admitted they were nervous then.
From singing covers in a basement to their fedora sessions on YouTube, the group has gone into overdrive. They will be shooting their third video next week in New York – the first was Lick Ya Down which reached No.9 on the British charts – and releasing their first album in April.
What is more exciting is that lead singer and lone female Amanda Reifer, guitarist Barry “Bar-Man”?Hill, bassist Jamar Harding and drummer “T-Ray”?Armstrong have taken over the No. 1 spot on the British singles charts with their original song Twilight just a year after being signed to a publishing deal with Sony and a recording deal with Geffen.
How long has it been since you have been home?
Amanda: We have been in the UK for the last three weeks.
What do you miss most about Barbados?
Amanda and T-Ray: Food, the beach, the sun and walking around without shoes!!!
How is England and the fans?
Amanda: England has been good to us. Our fans are now speaking Bajan, too! We love the fact that the UK is so receptive to Bajans! Dem like we real bad, yuh!)
Who is the songwriter in the group or do you all write?
Barry: Amanda is the principal songwriter, but we all contribute to the creation of our sound and songs.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge doing covers of popular songs?
Jamar and Barry: Fan requests. Sometimes fans request songs, but the truth is, if we cannot
Cover-Drive-atize it, we cannot do it. When we Cover-Drive-atize a song, we change it up and make it our own. For example, fans wanted us to do Nicki Minaj’s song Super Bass but we honestly could not. Nothing we tried worked. We let them down, but we just could not make it our own. Sigh.
What are some of your upcoming projects that we should be on the lookout for?
Jamar: Our third single and album both come out in April!! Our album is called Bajan Style.
How do you handle critics?
Amanda: So tough. We are learning not to take things too personally. It is hard though. But the more you experience, the thicker your skin gets. Our manager told us, before we released our first song, to get out of the habit of reading gossip blogs. It was really good advice, because when people are talking negatively about you, it can really crush you.
Who shot the video for Twilight and where was it done?
Barry: The video was shot by Syndrome in Miami – Little Havana.
What was the concept behind the video?
T-Ray: It was supposed to be a personality video. Fans were supposed to get more insight into who we are by watching the video. We are fun, carefree, happy people who love music. Did you pick that up?
On YouTube you have 2.1 million views since the video Twilight was uploaded last November. Did you imagine those numbers?
Amanda: Never!! We really cannot believe it! I check the numbers daily!
I know you guys are extremely busy . . . how do you find time for you?
Jamar: We fit it in whenever we can. We have learnt that the best way to have alone time is by putting on your headphones and turning on your iPod, when we are traveling. Our headphones cancel out all external noises.
Any insights into the music business? Is it harder work than you expected?
T-Ray: Remember that it is a business and you are a product that happens to breath. Yes, it is weird! I mean I only realized this when I was introduced to our product manager and we did not have a CD as yet. I was like, okay then . . . . I guess that means, Cover Drive is the product. We have to continually read and learn. We have regular music business sessions with our managers and lawyer! This business can feel a lot like school sometimes!